Northern Ireland news

Home of UVF killer Garfield Beattie searched for firearms and ammunition

Former UVF man Garfield Beattie
Connla Young

The home of a former UVF man Garfield Beattie has been raided by police searching for firearms and ammunition.

Garfield Beattie (64) served 16 years in jail for three sectarian murders carried out in the 1970s.

The 64-year-old's victims included Denis Mullen (36), who was shot at his home close to the Moy in September 1975; Frederick McLoughlin (48), who died after being shot in a gun attack at the Eagle Bar near Moy in May 1976 and Pat McNeice (50), shot dead near Loughgall, in July that year.

Beattie's home at Annaghmore in Co Armagh was raided early last Tuesday by officers based at Gough barracks in Armagh.

A PSNI search record reveals the object of the search was "firearms/ammo".

Police later confirmed nothing was found.

A warrant to enter and search the property reveals the operation was carried out under the Firearms Order 2004.

Beattie, a former member of the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, last night said that up to 15 uniformed officers and three plain-clothed detectives took part in the operation, which included a sniffer dog.

During the search rooms in the house were checked while officers also combed a nearby art studio and shed.

He also said police used a large rod to probe a back garden during the hour long operation.

A spokesman for the PSNI said: "A search was carried out at a house in the Annaghmore part of an ongoing investigation.

"No items were seized and no arrests were made.

"Enquiries are continuing."

The raid took place just days after the ex-loyalist was convicted of writing to Mid Ulster Aontú councillor Denise Mullen, a daughter of Denis Mullen, telling her to withdraw a civil legal action launched against him in respect of her father's murder.

The letter was signed 'East Tyrone Ulster Volunteer Force'.

Beattie is due to be sentenced next month.

Earlier this month the Irish News revealed how Beattie almost shot his own Catholic uncle dead during the Eagle Bar attack, which claimed the life of Frederick McLoughlin.

The ex-loyalist revealed that James McKeown was in the bar when a three-man UVF team launched the attack.

Mr McKeown, from Blackwatertown in Co Armagh, was a brother of Beattie's mother Mary.

The former UVF man, who later admitted to being one of two gunmen who opened fire on the bar, said he only found out the following day that his close relative had been present at the time of the deadly attack.

In an interview with the Irish News last year Beattie claimed that his grandfather, James McKeown, was a member of the IRA in the Loughgall area in the 1920s and that his mother was also republican minded.

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